A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 27, 2009
Variety Meats

"Variety meats” (almost always in the plural, but sometimes written as “variety meat") are also known as ‘offal”—parts of slaughtered animals that are often thrown away. These include organ meats (such as brain, kidney, liver and heart), feet, and tail. The term “variety meats” began to be used in 1942-1943, when the wartime Office of Price Administration used that label.


Cook’s Thesaurus
variety meats = offal (British) Notes:  Variety meats is a catch-all term for the organ meats, feet, and tails of butchered animals.  Earlier civilizations treated many of the organs as prized delicacies, and deservedly so since they’re often as tender and mildly flavorful as the finest cuts of meat.  They’re fallen into disfavor in our times, though, which means that you can get many of these meats for a song.  Refrigerate variety meats and use them within two days of purchase, or else freeze them. 

Epicurious.com: Food Dictionary
variety meats
Called offal in Great Britain, variety meats are animal innards and extremities that can be used in cooking. They include BRAINS, feet and ankles (see PIG’S FEET), HEART, KIDNEYS, LIVER, SWEETBREADS, TONGUE and TRIPE. Some of the more obscure variety-meat trimmings are used for SAUSAGE.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: variety meat
Function: noun
Date: circa 1946
: an edible part (as the liver or tongue) of a slaughter animal other than skeletal muscle

(Oxford English Dictionary)
variety meat n. orig. U.S. = OFFAL n. 2a; a piece or type of offal (usu. in pl.).
1942 Los Angeles Times 27 Jan. II. 6/6 *Variety meats will be glorified by Miss Manners.
1953 Sci. News Let. 63 244/2 Use..liver and variety meat in two days.
2004 Times Lit. Suppl. 8 Oct. 30/2 This book does..look squarely and unsentimentally at ‘variety meats’.

Google Books
Variety Meats.
By New Jersey State College of Agriculture, Marion Dakin Evans, Extension Service, University, Connecticut
Published by Extension Service, New Jersey State College of Agriculture, Rutgers University,
“January, 1943.”

4 March 1943, Nevada State Journal (Reno, NV), “Ceiling Pork Prices Given for Reno Area,” pg. 12, col. 1:
Exempted from the new order are pork sausages, canned pork quick-frozen pork cuts and pork variety meats or offal. These items remain subject to the general maximum price regulation.

31 March 1943, Troy (NY) Times Record, “Local Markets Must List Prices for Pork Sales,” pg. 11, col. 2:
The new regulation does not apply, the OPA Authority states, to the following pork products: Pork sausage, canned pork, pork variety meat including temple meat cutlets, brains, chitterlings, livers, plucks, kidneys, tongues, lips, snouts, ears, hearts, cheek and head meat, stomachs, weasand meat and heads.

Google Books
Gus the Great:
a novel

By Thomas William Duncan
Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott
1947
Pg. 251:
The theater was as full of brains as the variety-meat showcase in a butcher shop.

Google Books
Planning and Serving Your Meals
By Mary E. Goldmann
Published by McGraw-Hill
1950
Pg. 9:
One four-ounce serving of meat—variety meat, such as liver, kidney, brains, or tongue; fish; or poultry—is the amount suggested for each day.

Google Books
Innards and Other Variety Meats
By Jana Allen, Margaret Gin
Edition: illustrated
Published by 101 Productions; [distributed by Scribner, New York]
1974

Google Books
Variety Meats
Contributor Time-Life Books
Published by Time-Life, Incorporated
1982

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Friday, March 27, 2009 • Permalink